The NFL sucks.
It’s a sports product engineered by big business and groomed to make the owners stupendously rich. Yes, the players go through another level of winnowing, and are basically the best of the best. I’ll admit that.
But the game itself is dull. Everyone runs the same offensive and defensive sets for the most part, all the players are pretty much the same skill level, and the league mercilessly cracks down on anything that would let a team or player really set themselves apart by being goofy or what-not.
The biggest, most interesting thing that the league has had to deal with lately (other than crippling brain damage, which they’re dodging) is whether or not Tom Brady and the Patriots slightly underinflated the footballs or not. There’s precious little drama involved.
Plus, the fan experience is just… insipid, relative to college football. EVERYBODY literally is a t-shirt fan. There’s not much year-to-year interest in the team that the coaches have put together- they don’t typically change that much. There’s no recruiting, there’s no bragging rights (not unless you’re a loser), there’s nothing much very interesting about being a pro football fan. There aren’t even any barriers to entry or exclusive nature to the fandom. ANYONE can be a pro football fan of whatever team they like.
College football is far better in terms of the fan experience. The skill levels of the players isn’t so high, and there’s a lot more variation among teams, but that’s part of the fun. You can see each team recruit unproven high school kids and see them develop over time, and due to players having a limited time that they’re eligible to pay, each year is a new team, and new dynamic, where a player can have an immediate and significant impact. Contrast this with pro football where even a Heisman Trophy winner is likely to ride the pine for a couple of seasons out of college.
The fan experience is far better as well. Many schools have 100+ years of traditions built up, and have uniforms that recall those early days. The fans do chants/yells that are odd and antiquated, they all wear their team’s colors, show up days in advance, hold huge tailgate parties, fervently pay attention to their team and conference’s recruiting, have intra-state rivals who basically determine who has bragging rights in the state. There’s all the drama and absurdity of the playoffs, AP/USA Today polls, and conference standings. There are trick plays, there are unknowns playing due to injuries, there are odd formations that some teams use to try and play to their advantages, or against their opponents’ weaknesses.
And it’s elitist I suppose, but there are barriers to entry. You can’t just up and decide you’re a Ohio State Buckeyes fan… not really anyway. You can buy the merchandise, put Urban Meyer’s photo on your wall, name your child Brutus, etc… but unless you went to Ohio State, you’re just a t-shirt fan.